Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bouctouche One of Canada's Prettiest Towns

Written by: Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

The popular Canadian magazine ‘Harrowsmith Country living’ chose the unique Town of Bouctouche as one of Canada’s top 10 prettiest towns. One reason being the Bouctouche River. It flows and meanders around and through the sand dunes that are shaped by the wafting breezes. Other reasons for Bouctouche being chosen is it’s intense Acadian heritage, and the fact that it is the birthplace of the founding father of one of Canada’s largest diversified corporations, Kenneth Colin Irving.

Bouctouche is located in the eastern region of New Brunswick, 40 kilometers north of the City of Moncton, and goes to where the Bouctouche River empties into the Northumberland Strait. The population of Bouctouche is 2426 and the landmass is 18.34 square kilometers.

As of 2006 the Municipal Council members are: Mayor Aldio Saulnier, Deputy Mayor Roland Fougere, and councilors Donald Cormier, Normand Voutour, Chantal Duplessis, and the Public Relations Officer is Marc Landry. See more information at www.ville.bouctouche.nb.ca

The Mayor, Aldio Saulnier has said that in the past two decades, especially during the past few years, the town of Bouctouche has witnessed significant growth. This is due to the regions active involvement in economic and tourism development, and creating the proper climate for investments and playing a leadership role in community economic development. A bold new vision was developed in 1995 and it resulted in Bouctouche becoming the ecotourism destination of Atlantic Canada. The municipality is also recognized as the service centre whereby the close by communities comes for their services. It is the nucleus of the Kent Region, especially for Kent South.

The Mayor also added that the efforts invested in tourism have enabled Bouctouche to become a model community. Noting that the help of the Irving family who have invested millions of dollars in various projects have add to the quality of products and services offered to visitors and residents. The Mayor welcomes all to come visit and experience the model community of Bouctouche.

The largest population base for the Town of Bouctouche is people between the ages of 25 and 44 years of age. The first language is French. The majority of the population settled and stays in Bouctouche and most residence are Canadian born. The main religion is Catholic. The average earnings of those with full time employment is $31,053.00. The largest industry is manufacturing and construction, second being the health and education fields followed by wholesale and retail trade. For more complete statistics go to www.12.statcan.ca

The original name of Bouctouche was Chebooktoosh, which in Micmac means ‘Big Little Harbour.’ On June 19, 1785 two brothers, Francois and Charlittle LeBlanc set out from Memramcook in search of land to settle. June 24, 1785 they came upon the fertile shore of the Chebooktoosh River, carved a cross in a hugh pine tree to signify taking possession and soon renamed it Bouctouch.

The LeBlanc brothers saw the little harbour as a safe place for the recently deported Acadians. The river was abundant with fish, the land populated with many trees, and the waterway for travel made Bouctouche a great place to begin a new colony. As families grew and new ones added so too did Bouctouche grow and thrive as one of the largest small ports in New Brunswick.

The first baby born into this new colony was Laurent, parents were Charlotte LeBlanc and Madeline Girouard in 1787. (A more in-depth history can be found on the pages of Pierre Cormier’s book ‘Bouctouche Of The Past,’ available at the Town Hall at 211 Irving Boulevard.)





Paul LeBlanc, general manager of the popular tourist attraction ‘Le Pays de la Sagouine’ had this to say about tourism in and around Bouctouche.

“I have been asked for my comments on the tourism industry in and around my village of Bouctouche. I would like to start by saying that I was born and raised in Bouctouche, more than a half a century ago, and I have been the general manager at Le Pays de la Sagouine for the past 10 years. Le Pays opened back in 1992.

At that time, we had long been identified as a drive through province, with not much as far as major attractions. Then Le Pays opened and from that point, Bouctouche started to develop into what we have now, which I call a destination. There is a big difference between destination and an attraction. You come to an attraction for a day where you can stay for a week or more in a destination. A destination has to have something for everyone, different things, and Bouctouche has that.

Bouctouche didn’t always have that. But after the opening of Le Pays, other things started to take shape. Bed and Breakfasts were opening everywhere, the Dune project opened around the end of the 90’s, la Savonnerie, the Irving Arboretum, the Marina, the Trail System and more. Bouctouche being strategically situated became a destination. We have Kouchibouguac National Park a half-hour’s drive to the north and Fundy National Park an hour’s drive to the south. We are an hour’s drive to Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island, and beautiful beaches surround us. We are a destination.

All of this did not happen over night. For starters, we are very lucky to have had famous and influential people originating from Bouctouche. Antonine Maillet and the Irving family have contributed immensely to the tourism development in the area.

Le Pays played a very important role back then and still does, it being an anchor attraction. Over the years, Le Pays has become more of a cultural center also, and not just a tourist attraction. We still are that, but for the past two years, the majority of our 80,000 visitors per year come from this province. It use to be that the most important market were tourists from the province of Quebec; they are now second. This is a result of us becoming more active in the off seasons, doing this during the Christmas holidays for example. Le Pays will continue to be an anchor attraction, luring tourists to this very unique concept, and I believe that the area will continue to be a wonderful destination.”

Bouctouche also has an Arts and Cultural population, complete with mid summer festival. These festivals held along Irving Boulevard, are called ‘Le festival de la folie des arts.’ In 2007 August 4th. & 5th will be their 7th Anniversary. This year over 25 artists gathered from New Brunswick, Quebec and as far away as Australia. Here they showed off their craft under a giant canopy.

“Le galerie des artistes’ is a more permanent gallery at 5 Irving Boulevard. It is open during July and August, and this year they are going to be open in December. The Town of Bouctouche sponsors this gallery, along with La Societe Culturel Kent Sud, which is a non profit organization. The gallery is open to all artists who are willing to sell their paintings for a 15% commission.

Native-born artists, Geneva Hebert works in oils and acrylics. Her work is displayed in locations such as; Le musee de Kent, the National Bank in Richibucto, the Provincial Art Fair, La Galerie d’ Arts d’ Orleans (1896) inc. Parrain des Artistes in Quebec, Festival des Arts de Shediac, the olie de Arts in Bouctouche, The Light House Gallery, Moncton Art Society and the Kent County Agricultural Fair and Exposition. Geneva’s work has been sold around the world, the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, Ottawa, Boston and in Europe. In 2003, Geneva was honored with the ‘Racines 2003’ award from the Art Society of New Brunswick in recognition of her dedication to teaching art.

An intricate part to any up and coming community is their Chamber of Commerce. Since 1947 Bouctouche’s Chamber has been a working force, and was incorporated in 1973. It’s objective is to promote the well being of the commercial, industrial, tourism and civic portions of Bouctouche. Its implication in the economic development is felt to be their primary role. The Chamber is very proud of the role it played in the early 1990’s spearheading the development of The Dune project. Today, the Irving Eco Center, la dune de Bouctouche,’ is world-renowned.

On the leading edge of communication technology, the Town of Bouctouche is serviced by ‘Aernet Wireless’, Atlantic Canada’s first wireless high speed internet provider. Aernet is 100% New Brunswick owned and is the first and only internet provider focused on the truly rural customer.

The Town of Bouctouche is a thriving place to live, to do business and to enjoy the best nature has to offer.

16 Comments:

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